Thursday, August 24, 2017

Still No Source For Contamination At Million Dollar Beach

As the season draws to a close, Lake George partner groups, including the Fund for Lake George, Lake George Waterkeeper Program and the Lake George Association, along with state and local governments, continue to search for the source of contamination to the lake water at Million Dollar Beach. The Department of Environmental Conservation closed the beach again recently after detecting bacterial contamination.

“Unfortunately, Lake George continues to be compromised through contamination from an apparent human source at Million Dollar Beach,” said Chris Navitsky, the Lake George Waterkeeper, in a press release issued by the Fund for Lake George. “While tracing the exact origin of the contamination is a complicated issue, we are confident this problem can be solved with a focused, science-driven plan of action.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Louis Marshall: Wilderness Conservationist; Seeker of Social Justice

Louis Marshall Wilderness preservationist Louis Marshall would have not only commented about the extremism, murder and related tragic loss of life in Charlottesville, VA. He would have been outspoken against the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazi followers that caused it. Further, he would have responded vigorously and explicitly against President Trump’s persistent equivocation about who caused the violence and loss of life. To the lawyer and civil rights advocate Louis Marshall, love of justice and love of nature bubbled up from the same headwaters.

We continue to live in a time of specialists where our humanity is defined and constrained as lanes we live and practice within. The messages we receive daily are to stay in our separate lanes, interests and specialties. By dint of his and world history and by force of personality, Louis Marshall (1856-1929) would not stay in any lane. Nor did Martin Luther King. Nor do young people today. Nor should any of us. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Adirondack Research On Invasive Phragmites

Lake Placid Wetland - Phragmites Management TimelapsePractitioners from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and researchers from Cornell University published the results of a seven-year study evaluating management of Phragmites australis (Phragmites), an aggressive wetland invasive plant, in the Adirondacks.

Published in the latest issue of Biological Invasions, “Management of invasive Phragmites australis in the Adirondacks: a cautionary tale about prospects of eradication,” documents broad success in controlling the species and suggests that over 70% of infestations within the interior Adirondacks will eventually be successfully eradicated, allowing native species to recolonize.

Since 2010, APIPP has managed 334 infestations of Phragmites in the interior Adirondacks. As of 2016, 212 of these managed sites have been documented as Phragmites-free; 104 have been documented as Phragmites-free for three consecutive years and are deemed eradicated. Researchers point to two primary reasons for this success: Small size of Phragmites infestations upon discovery (average size is less than one acre); and APIPP’s sustained early detection, rapid response, and monitoring efforts. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Final Papers Submitted In Adirondack Park Snowmobile Trail Trial

section of the Newcomb to Minerva trail built in 2015On July 31, 2017 final papers were submitted in the trial in state Supreme Court in Albany over management of the Forest Preserve. The trial ended in early April. The trial focused on management of the public “forever wild” Forest Preserve by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency.

These agencies are currently building a network of 9-12 foot wide class II community connector snowmobile trails (Class II trails) on the Adirondack Forest Preserve that require cutting thousands of trees, extensive grading.

The lawsuit was filed by Protect the Adirondacks (PROTECT) against the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency in 2013, and alleges that these trails violate Article XIV, Section 1, the forever wild provision of the NYS Constitution. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

APA Agenda: Building Bike Trails, Piseco Lake Campground, Hamilton Co Towers

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, August 10th, 2017.

The meeting will address the siting, construction and maintenance of bike trails on state land, the Piseco Lake Campground UMP, the appearance of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Warren County, and consider two emergency communication towers in Hamilton County.

What follows is the agenda issued by the APA: » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Adirondack High Peaks Management Plan Unmet, Outdated

There has been detailed documentation in the Adirondack Almanack about ongoing recreational pressures and resulting damage to parts of the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the largest Wilderness unit in the NYS Forest Preserve (and in most of the country).

Severe impacts have resulted to some adjacent trailheads, highways, roads, and parking areas, and certain areas of the interior. NYS DEC personnel, Summit Stewards, and town governments, indeed all of us, feel the pressure from large numbers of us enjoying the Eastern High Peaks, and in some cases requiring search and rescue. What to do about it all has been debated in this space by various stakeholders, including DEC Forest Rangers, with much good information exchanged and good comments and suggestions.

However, current comments and conditions feel like déjà vu all over again. I refer to the 17 year-old document that very specifically guides our public land manager, the NYS DEC, in addressing recreational user pressure on the High Peaks and how to keep the High Peaks as wilderness.

The 1999 High Peaks Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan (UMP) is that guiding document. I propose that we spend more time addressing this plan, its management recommendations and actions to date, and how the UMP might be updated to reflect the era, conditions and user pressures we are now encountering. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Millennial Focus at Lake George Land Conservancy Meeting

lglc logoThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) will hold its Annual Meeting at the Bolton Conservation Park on Saturday, August 19, from 10 am to 12 pm, followed by a guided hike to The Pinnacle and picnic lunch.

Guest speaker Michelle Clement from the Regional Office Of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) will present a discussion on the economic benefits of conservation and recreation and the emerging relationship between the Adirondacks, nature and millennials. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Highly Invasive Hydrilla Intercepted At Upper Saranac Lake

Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake Inlet On July 29, watercraft inspectors inspected a pair of personal watercraft attempting to launch at the State boat launch on Upper Saranac Lake, subsequently detecting and removing a strand of hydrilla (water thyme, or Hydrilla verticillata), a fast-growing invasive aquatic plant currently established in several New York lakes.  This is the first confirmed instance of hydrilla detected in the history of the Adirondack Park’s aquatic invasive species prevention efforts.

According to lake stewards, the watercraft on the trailer carrying hydrilla had both been sealed by lake stewards from the Lake George Park Commission, indicating they had recently passed an invasive species inspection.

On some Adirondack lakes stewards perform boat and trailer inspections in an effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.  Many boat launches however, including those operated by the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC), remain largely un-staffed, or inadequately equipped, and often rely on poorly paid student labor.  Most DEC boat launches in the Adirondacks remain open when stewards are not present. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

NYS Plans Rebuild of 78 Miles of North Country Power Line

Moses Adirondack Power Line MapThe State of New York has announced plans to rebuild 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure in the North Country. The rebuilt transmission line, called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, is expected to help the state meet its clean energy standard mandating 50 percent of New York’s consumed electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030 by providing better transmission through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.

“Transmission projects like these can play a critical role in channeling power produced upstate – where increasing amounts of renewable energy is coming on line – to areas where it is needed downstate,” according to a press release issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.  Construction is estimated to take four years and is slated to begin in 2019. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pete Nelson: Norway has Lessons for High Peaks Overuse

Regular Almanack readers are used to hearing me stress the importance of perspectives from outside the Adirondack Park. Today I’ve got one from way outside the Adirondack Park, specifically Norway, where my wife Amy and I are traveling for two weeks. While here I have enjoyed the geologic kinship Norway shares with the Adirondacks. I have also enjoyed the fact that my experiences so far have reinforced the sentiments I expressed in my last Almanack column, namely that we should not overreact to busy trails in the High Peaks. If you think we have a problem in the Adirondacks, you should see the hiking traffic here. And if you think that pervasive cultural experiences of pristine, wild places can’t place their fragile value at the heart of an entire society, you should see this country.

Yesterday Amy and I climbed Preikestolen, one of Norway’s most popular hiking destinations and a national icon. In some ways Preikestolen is Norway’s answer to Indian Head: a massive, open rock slab with a spectacular view, positioned far above a narrow body of water that is set between mountain ridges. However the scale is far greater: Priekestolen’s height above the water is three times that of Indian Head and the body of water is a sizeable fjord, not a small lake. For the purposes of this article, a better comparison is our own infamous Cascade Mountain. Cascade’s trail involves several hundred feet more vertical ascent than Preikestolen, but both routes are 2.4 miles and, more important, both trails are crammed with people who want an accessible but authentic regional mountain experience. Like Cascade, Preikestolen is a challenge that a neophyte hiker or ambitious family might take, an intimidating but doable workout with major parking problems down below and a show-stopper payoff on top. The difference, once again, is scale: Preikestolen’s foot traffic makes Cascade look like Allen Mountain.   » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Regional Wildlife Refuge Areas Opened For 16-Days

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that several restricted Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) will be opened to the public in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties from Saturday, August 12, through Sunday, August 27, 2017.

Portions of these WMAs are marked as “Refuge” or “Wetlands Restricted Area” to allow waterfowl and other listed species to breed and raise young without interference from people. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Froehlich Foundation Continues Support of LGLC Efforts

lglc logoThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has received a grant of $190,000 from the Helen V. Froehlich Foundation in continued support of focused conservation projects and initiatives to help protect the land that protects the lake forever.

The grant is expected to be used on priority projects, including $100,000 towards the LGLC’s Indian Brook/Northwest Bay Conservation Initiative, which includes focused land protection efforts in the Indian Brook and Northwest Bay watersheds in Bolton.

“Studies indicate that although Indian Brook is showing some impacts from development and other human activity, the watershed is still below the threshold of containing less than 10% of impervious surface, which is an indicator of overall health. Much of the watershed’s sensitive land is currently unprotected, however, leaving water quality vulnerable,” an LGLC press announcement said. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Eastern Forest Birds Face Wintering Grounds Habitat Loss

Rose-breasted GrosbeakWithin the next few decades, human-caused habitat loss looms as the greatest threat to some North American breeding birds and the problem will be most severe on their wintering grounds, according to a new study published  in the journal Global Change Biology. By the end of this century, the study’s authors say predicted changes in rainfall and temperature will compound the problem for birds that breed in eastern North America and winter in Central America. Migrant wintering grounds are important because the birds spend a greater proportion of the year in these places.

The scientists ran dozens of scenarios to predict what the future might look like for 21 species, most of them flycatchers, vireos, and warblers. They used observations that volunteers entered into the eBird database from 2004 through 2014 to establish where and in what density the species are found throughout the year. Then, they layered in modeled climate change projections (temperature and rainfall) and habitat data (land-use changes and the location of protected areas). » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Ticket Issued For Drone Usage In Adirondack Wilderness Area

A man who allegedly flew a drone in the High Peaks Wilderness in June is headed to court in Keene next month.

The man allegedly flew and landed a drone on June 17th near the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Johns Brook Outpost. The man was issued a ticket after the incident was observed by a forest ranger.

The ticket was first of its kind for operation of a drone on the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve. It alleges the individual operated motorized equipment within land classified as wilderness. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 24, 2017

An Environmental Salute to George Canon

The late Newcomb Town Supervisor George Canon did not concede anything to the environmental side, but in paying my respects to him I admit to admiration for what he accomplished for his town and county and for how, beneath a very tough exterior, George cared little about who he was seen with, who he would approach, talk with or share a drink with. Not that he wanted my organizations to publish pictures of us smiling before the camera. That would have gone too far.

Early on, when George and I met occasionally, our only common ground was to talk about a man we knew from very different points of view – Arthur Masten Crocker. Arthur was a patrician member of the Tahawus Club, so a part-time resident of Newcomb. He was also a leading environmentalist of his time, having grown to young manhood around Masten House, near the old village of Adirondac, and fished lakes Henderson and Colden.  Arthur also appreciated Adirondack history, local guides and men who worked for National Lead – men like George Canon. » Continue Reading.


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